Open Access Publication & ACM
ACM Reiterates Its Intention to Transition to 100% Open Access Publication by 2026
On June 9, 2023 ACM's highest governing body, the ACM Council, was presented with, discussed, and showed wide-spread support for a plan to transition all ACM Publications to a sustainable Open Access model no later than the end of the 2025 calendar year. This timeline was originally agreed back in June 2020 when ACM's Council voted unanimously to adopt a five-year time line for this transition to occur in a financially sustainable way. The plan includes a multi-phased approach which relies heavily on the support of universities, government research institutes, and companies in the technology sector to participate in the ACM Open program.
In its simplest form, the model includes an annual "flat fee" paid by institutions affiliated with ACM authors to support the costs of publishing those papers in ACM's various journals, conference proceedings, and magazines and the costs of accessing those papers in the ACM Digital Library. The amount of the "flat fee" for a particular institution is based on the level of historical publication activity affiliated with that institution (as an accurate predictor of that institution's future publication activity in the current year) and on a "cost recovery" model to ensure that ACM has sufficient funds to support its industry leading publication program and online platform, the ACM Digital Library. Institutions whose faculty and students publish more with ACM and use the ACM Digital Library more heavily have a higher "flat fee" while institutions that publish and use the ACM Digital Library less have a lower "flat fee". Unlike many of the other Open Access models being implemented by competing societies or publishers, there are no additional fees to be paid by authors if they are affiliated with an ACM Open participating institution.
The main objective of the ACM Open model is to sustainably transition all ACM Publications to a 100% Open Access model to remove any and all barriers to accessing articles published by ACM in the ACM Digital Library. The computer science community has been pushing for ACM to do this for years, but the sub-text within that message is that the community cares deeply about the quality and value of ACM's Publications and the collection of over 700,000 full-text articles published in ACM's growing list of high-impact journals, top-tier conferences, and technology-focused magazines. The community wants these publication venues to thrive and grow, and the community has made it clear that it views Open Access as critical to that future success. Every year ACM submissions and the number of published articles grows and yet maintain consistently low acceptance rates typically ranging between 20-30% depending on the journal or conference venue. Moving too quickly to Open Access without a plan to cover ongoing publication costs is in neither ACM nor the community's best interest, so we've been working with the community to develop and implement a plan that moves us in the right direction. Progress with this plan has accelerated and over the past three years we've gone from less than 5% Open Access to approximately 35% Open Access today.
Still, we have heard from many institutions that funding for ACM's "flat fee" is a barrier, since the vast majority of those institutions only utilize library budgets to pay these fees and for the largest most prolific institutions who are asked by ACM to shoulder their "fair share", tapping into other available budgets within the university takes time and a new way of collaborating than they are used to. Many of the largest institutions have said to ACM unambiguously that they support the model and will likely join, but only when they feel they "have to" join. At the same time, there has been a certain amount of skepticism that ACM will stand behind its pledge to complete the transition to 100% OA. This is one of the main drivers behind ACM's recent announcements. Sometimes, it is necessary to take a leap of faith to make extraordinary progress and advances, and we believe this is one of those times.
ACM will become fully Open Access by the end of 2025, but we have already begun that process in phases and large parts of the ACM Digital Library are already Open Access today, including:
- The first 50 years of ACM's archive - all articles published between 1951 and 2000 have been placed in front of the ACM Digital Library subscription paywall
- The 10 ACM journals ACM has either launched as new Gold OA or flipped existing hybrid journals to a Gold OA model
- ACM's intention to flip its flagship Communications of the ACM magazine, one of the top-ranked publications in Computer Science, to a Gold OA model this fall along with the upcoming launch of the magazine's newly designed website
- ACM's intention to flip its International Conference Proceedings Series (ICPS) to a 100% Gold OA model as from January 1, 2024
- Under consideration is the possibility of flipping ACM's Journals program in 2025 ahead of the final flip of all ACM Conference Proceedings on December 31, 2025
What is the impact of "flipping" various parts of ACM's Publications program to 100% Open Access on ACM authors? That is perhaps the most important question we've been asked since this transition began in 2020 with the announcement of the five-year timeline. Up until this point, ACM has taken a very "light" approach with our Gold OA journals, which in practice means that if the corresponding author of an accepted article isn't affiliated with an institution that has already signed on to the ACM Open program, they are asked but not required to pay an Article Processing Charge (APC), since our goal "post flip" has always been to maximize the number of authors participating in ACM Open and minimize the number of authors who would ultimately be required to pay an APC if they were not affiliated with an ACM Open institution. This "light touch" was intended to provide authors who had funding to publish their ACM articles on an OA basis or who were required to publish OA as a result of institutional or funder mandates they may be subject to with that opportunity. Our general experience with the "light touch" is that between 4-5% of ACM authors regularly pay APCs with the above goals in mind even though they are not required to.
For ICPS conferences, the new model will apply for all ICPS conferences where the Call for Papers is being issued for the first time on or after January 1, 2024. For these ICPS conferences, ACM will be removing the hybrid open access option and requiring that all ICPS corresponding authors are either affiliated with institutions actively participating in the ACM Open program or they will be required to pay an APC of either $700 or $1,000 (with the lower price for active ACM Members) in order to publish their article with ACM. When the ACM journals program flips in 2025 or 2026, this same option will be removed and accepted corresponding authors will be required to be affiliated with ACM Open institutions or they will be required to pay an APC of either $1,300 or $1,800 (with the lower price for active ACM Members) and then in 2026 the same approach will be implemented for corresponding authors accepted into any of ACM's Conferences.
By the time ACM flips ICPS at the end of 2023, it is our expectation that between 40-45% of our corresponding authors will already be affiliated with ACM Open institutions. The remaining 55-60% will be required to pay an APC. By the end of 2024, we expect that 50-55% will be affiliated with ACM Open institutions and by the end of 2025 when ACM Conferences flip to 100% Open Access, we expect this number to rise to 60-65% with that figure growing in the years that follow. The goal is of course to minimize the number of authors being required to ever pay an APC. The computing community does not like APCs and neither does ACM, but we view this approach as a necessary one to ensure the financial health and sustainability of the ACM Publication program.
Many of our institutional participants and member of the computing community have rightly asked what does it mean for ACM's Publications program to be financially sustainable and how can the community be assured that the financial model behind ACM Open is fair and equitable. As a result of these questions and in an effort to be accountable to our community as a registered 501(c)3 non-profit organization, several years ago we set out to answer these questions and publish our detailed findings annually in the Communications of the ACM. To date, we have published 3 articles that provide a detailed financial overview of the ACM Publications program and we are committed to publishing a similar article each year. Please see below links to these articles in the ACM Digital Library:
- ACM Publications Finances for 2019
- ACM Publications Finances for 2020
- ACM Publications Finances for 2021
- ACM Publications Finances for 2022 (Under Development)
At the same time, many of our authors when learning of our plan to transition to a fully Open Access Publisher in 2026 have asked whether there will be financial waivers. Since fairness and equity is a central part of ACM's Open Access model and as a non-profit mission-based organization ensuring that authors with a genuine financial need are not turned away, ACM has established an APC waiver program that we believe to be fair and equitable. Information about this waiver program can be found below and additional details will be provided as we get closer to the ICPS flip later this fall. Authors from over 100 countries around the world will be granted either automatic 100% waivers or 50% discounts based on the country they reside in and additional "objective" criteria have been added to provide the opportunity for "discretionary waivers or discounts" for authors residing outside these countries.
ACM OPEN (ACM’s Transformative Model for Open Access Publication)
ACM is committed to a sustainable future where all peer reviewed scholarly articles will be published in the ACM Digital Library on an Open Access (OA) basis. The transition to this model will take time and needs to be done in a way that ensures the long-term viability of ACM’s Publications program and all of the Good Works that ACM supports through its various educational, diversity and inclusion, public policy, and computing community recognition initiatives. Provided it is achieved in a sustainable manner, the transition to OA should be greatly beneficial to the advancement of computer science in the form of increased usage and citation of research.
Since 2013, ACM has been experimenting with a variety of so called Green & Gold Open Access models for OA publication, including a Hybrid Open Access model, which gives ACM authors the ability to make their individual published Works Open Access immediately upon publication in the ACM Digital Library. While the number of ACM authors opting in for Hybrid OA continues to grow each year and our other OA experiments continue to show real promise, it is clear that none of these models are being adopted at a rate that is likely to result in a complete flip from the current institutional subscription-based licensing model to a wholly Open Access publication model now or in the foreseeable future, so we have continued to explore models that have the potential for greater impact.
At the same time, learned societies and for-profit commercial publishers, including ACM, continue to launch new Gold Open Access publications and are engaging with public and private research funders and governments to experiment with new institutional models for Open Access publication. One such model that appears to show a great deal of promise is the "Read + Publish" model. Many of the large commercial publishers have already executed large-scale "Read + Publish" Agreements with a growing number of European and US-based universities and government research institutions, and there is a general sense of optimism that this model can accelerate the growth of Gold Open Access publication and potentially provide a stable and sustainable future for Open Access publication of the scholarly research literature.
The ACM OPEN Model
Over the past year, ACM has been working closely with a group of top-tier research institutions to develop a unique and innovative variation on the basic “Read + Publish” model that many of the large commercial publishers and university presses are now piloting with universities around the world. We are calling this new model ACM Open and we believe it has the potential to completely transform ACM's Publications Program in a dramatic way over the next 5-10 years.
What sets ACM Open apart from other traditional "Read + Publish" models is that it is the first model to offer unlimited Open Access publication and unlimited Read Acccess for a fixed annual price, instead of basing pricing on individual Article Processing Charges (APCs), which can be extremely unpredictable and risky for the university in terms of establishing budgets to underwrite the cost of these Agreements. When a university signs an ACM Open Agreement, they will know exactly what their fixed costs will be for each of the three years of the Agreement (or longer, if they wish to enter into 5 or 7 year Agreements with ACM). Pricing is based on a ten-tier system that was created to provide a sustainable income stream to underwrite ACM's Publications Program. The goal is not to increase revenues, but rather to provide a stable and sustainable income stream for ACM to remain the leading publisher it is today far into the future. In fact, one of the fundamental aspects of the model is that institutions that currently subscribe to the ACM Digital Library, but are not large contributors in terms of articles published by ACM, will actually see their pricing reduced to a very low level as more and more institutions participate in ACM Open.
A university's tiering is based on the average number of articles with corresponding authors affiliated with an institution over the most recent three years and assigns the appropriate tier to that institution. Once assigned a tier and a related tier price, the institution pays the fixed annual price, which covers both the Open Access publication of an unlimited number of articles from that institution and unlimited Read Access to the entire contents of the ACM Digital Library. In addition to publishing articles in the Digital Library on a Gold Open Access basis when the corresponding author is from an affiliated institution, ACM will be making automatic deposits of all articles affiliated with that institution into the institution's Institutional Repository (IR), so all co-authors of an article affiliated with an institution participating in ACM Open will benefit from the program.
ACM looks forward to working with the scholarly community on this transformative path. Additional details on ACM Open can be found here. We invite any questions and comments. Please contact us at [email protected] for more information about this new model.
ACM OPEN Author Experience
An accepted manuscript is eligible for ACM OPEN when the corresponding author’s primary affiliation is one that currently participates in ACM OPEN (a list of participating institutions can be found here). The corresponding author is tasked with completing the ACM assignment of rights and permissions on behalf of their co-authors. The corresponding author designation must be made in the conference or journal submission system and the corresponding author must include their primary affiliation and use their institutional email address. The primary affiliation for each author should be the institution where the majority of their work was done. If an author has subsequently moved, the current address may additionally be stated. ACM will not update or change addresses after publication of the article.
Following transmission of the manuscript to ACM production, the corresponding author will be asked to complete the assignment of rights and permissions on our eRights form. It is on this form that the corresponding author may select the rights to be granted and their choice of Creative Commons license. Following submission of the eRights form, the corresponding author’s choices are logged with ACM and the appropriate rights statement is applied to the manuscript prior to publication.
APC-Eligible Article Types
An important part of ACM's current hybrid Open Access program and the ACM Open model is the concept of an "APC-eligible article". APC-eligible stands for Article Processing Charge Eligible articles. These are the ACM published article or content types where ACM and its partner institutions have agreed that ACM will charge APCs and include in the ACM Open program. These are also the content types most funding agencies worldwide have indicated that research funding may be used to pay APCs, so these fees are reimbersable to the author(s) by those funders. ACM publishes nearly 30 different article or content types in its various publications, but most of these are not appropriate for inclusion in these programs, even though all articles and content types will be made Openly Accessible in the ACM Digital Library when ACM flips to 100% OA at the end of 2025. A few examples of content types that are not apc-eligible are:
- Invited Talks
- Invited Papers
The following is the list of article or content types that ACM currently treats as APC-eligible, meaning that upon acceptance by an ACM Publication, authors of such articles will automatically be included in the ACM Open program, where affiliated institutions are participating, or authors will be asked (and eventually required) to pay an APC:
- Research Article
- Short Paper
- Review Article
- Survey Article
- Technical Note
All published articles categorized as apc-eligible are reported to ACM Open affiliated institutions in that institution's ACM Open Dashboard upon publication in the ACM Digital Library. When ACM flips to 100% Open Access, only corresponding authors of APC-eligible articles will be required to be affiliated with ACM Open institutions, pay the requisite APC, or be eligible for an automatic waiver, discount, or discretionary waiver.
ACM's Community-Centric Approach to Publications
First and foremost, ACM exists to support the needs of the computing community. For over sixty years ACM has developed publications and policies to maximize the visibility, access, impact, trusted-source, and reach of the research it publishes for a global community of computing researchers, educators, students, and practitioners. ACM's new Open Access business model is an important aspect of this "community-centric" approach, but there are other aspects of ACM's approach to supporting the community that are important to highlight, including:
- ACM's liberal approach to author copyright retention
- ACM's liberal self-archiving rights policies for authors (i.e. - arXiv, etc.)
- ACM's liberal reuse rights for the scientific community
- ACM's continued investment in the ACM Digital Library platform to distribute full-text publications and provide important content discovery and bibliometric tools and services
- ACM's large and increasing investment in efforts to support research integrity and defend against various forms of publications-related misconduct
- ACM's leadership role with respect to the dissemination and utilization of open data and software to increase the reproducibility of scientific research and experimentation
Over the past few years, ACM has taken a progressive approach to copyright. In practice, this means that as from the end of 2022, ACM no longer asks any ACM author to transfer the copyright of their accepted articles to ACM, while at the same time ACM continues to protect and defend all ACM published articles against misconduct, such as plagiarism and other forms of fraudulent publication. In our view, authors should retain all intellectual property rights for their Work and publishers should only ask for those publicationa and distribution rights necessary to effectively market authors' Work and to defend that Work against abuse by bad actors in and out of the scientific community. As we progess in our transition to full Open Access, ACM will continue to simplify the author rights selection process. For the ICPS program, which will flip to 100% Open Access in 2024, ICPS authors will no longer be given the option to grant ACM an "exclusive license" to publish and we will be simplifying the options for our authors to assign Creative Commons licenses to their published Work. When ICPS authors are accepted by their respective conferences, ICPS authors will be given three options, as follows:
- Copyright retention without the use of a Creative Commons license
- Copyright retention with the use of a Creative Commons CC-BY-4.0 license (the most liberal CC option available)
- Copyright retention with the use of a Creative Commons CC-BY-NC-ND license (the most retrictive CC option available)
As ACM Journals, ACM Conferences, and ACM Magazines flip to 100% Open Access over the next few years, authors of these publications will be given the same set of rights options.
If you have any questions regarding the ACM Open program or any information provided on this page, please don't hesitate to reach out to ACM's Director of Publications via email.
Green Open Access
Otherwise known as "Self-Archiving" or "Posting Rights", all ACM published authors retain the right to post the pre-submitted (also known as "pre-prints"), submitted, accepted, and peer-reviewed versions of their work in any and all of the following sites:
- Author's Homepage
- Author's Institutional Repository
- Any Repository legally mandated by the agency or funder funding the research on which the work is based
- Any Non-Commercial Repository or Aggregation that does not duplicate ACM tables of contents. Non-Commercial Repositories are defined as Repositories owned by non-profit organizations that do not charge a fee to access deposited articles and that do not sell advertising or otherwise profit from serving scholarly articles
For the avoidance of doubt, an example of a site ACM authors may post all versions of their work to, with the exception of the final published "Version of Record", is ArXiv. ACM does request authors, who post to ArXiv or other permitted sites, to also post the published version's Digital Object Identifier (DOI) alongside the pre-published version on these sites, so that easy access may be facilitated to the published "Version of Record" upon publication in the ACM Digital Library.
For Works funded by Coalition S funders that do not allow funding to be used to pay ACM Article Processing Charges (APCs), Authors may assign a CC-BY license to the Accepted Version of the Work so as to comply with Plan S requirements. Please note that the right to assign a CC-BY license to the published Version of Record of the Work requires either the payment of an APC or an affiliation with an institution that participates in the ACM Open program.
Examples of sites ACM authors may not post their work to are ResearchGate, Academia.edu, Mendeley, or Sci-Hub, as these sites are all either commercial or in some instances utilize predatory practices that violate copyright, which negatively impacts both ACM and ACM authors.
CHORUS Open Access Initiative
In October 2013, a group of leading commercial and non-profit society publishers, including ACM, joined together to establish a 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation named CHOR Inc. with a mission to support and promote public access to and the continued availability of scholarly publications reporting on US federally funded research by leveraging new and existing digital technologies that are used by the publishing and scholarly communications community.
In late 2013 CHOR Inc. launched its first service called CHORUS, which stands for Clearinghouse for the Open Research of the United States, which serves as an information bridge, supporting "initially" US funding agency search portals and leveraging publishers' existing infrastructure to facilitate a simple compliance process for US federally funded research projects, optimized search and dashboard services, and multi-party archiving and preservation capabilities by leveraging and integrating various technology solutions provided by Crossref, Portico, CLOCKSS, ORCiD, and a growing list of international publishing technology service providers, including Atypon, Clarivate, Aries, Highwire, SilverChair, eJournal Press, Cenveo, and others.
Expansion Beyond United States Federal Funding Agencies
Over the past year, CHORUS has started to expand its services beyond the United States and US Federal Funders, and is currently working with several international funders of computing research, including the Japan Science and Technology Agency and the Australian Research Council, as well as a growing list of US and international academic institutions.
The longterm vision of the organization is to serve as a bridge between funders, researchers, research institutions, and publishers to ensure the public accessibility of scholarly research publications after an initial embargo period and to provide a range of services to these stakeholders.
CHORUS is currently monitoring over 400,000 articles from its approximately 50 member publishers with over 100,000 articles committed by Publishers be being made publicly accessible on the publishers' websites.
How the Service Works
To initiate CHORUS' services, authors simply have to identify their funding sources when submitting a paper for publication with a participating publisher. That action tags the article with the Crossref OpenFunder Registry service, triggering free public access of the best available version (either the final, published version or the author's accepted manuscript), either immediately on publication or after a designated embargo period.
The data that results from the tagging and subsequent public access is collected by Crossref and provided by CHORUS to all at no cost through an open Application Programming Interface (API); this can be used by anyone to create new and customize available search and analytic tools. Applications to optimize search and enable funders to track and ensure compliance and analyze funding impact have already been developed by CHORUS and are available to participating agencies. CHORUS also partners with CLOCKSS and Portico to ensure the archiving and preservation of research papers.
CHORUS' streamlined and cost-effective approach delivers value to funders, publishers, researchers, institutions, and the public at each point in the process of enabling public access:
- IDENTIFICATION: Simply naming the funding source during the article submission process adds metadata from the Crossref Open Funder Registry, which triggers public access to the article and minimizes the time researchers have to spend on administrative tasks.
- DISCOVERY: Users can quickly find the latest research articles via agency portals and common search engines, as well as through CHORUS' optimized search application. CHORUS' open programming and interface invites innovators to develop new tools and functionality that further support public access and facilitates text and data mining on articles reporting on funded research.
- ACCESS: CHORUS points users to the best available version of articles - either immediately on publication or after an embargo period - on the publication sites, where they can find essential context, tools, and information.
- COMPLIANCE: Compliance is easy using simple tagging built into the article submission process, while a CHORUS Dashboard application facilitates monitoring and reporting by funders and publishers without adding unnecessary costs and administrative overhead.
- PRESERVATION: CHORUS ensures the integrity and sustainability of the scholarly record through partnerships with CLOCKSS, Portico, and other services that archive and preserve research articles in perpetuity.
CHORUS currently offers two basic services for authors, funders, institutions, and publishers as follows:
The search service enables users to discover articles reporting on funded research from our publisher members. Learn more about our Search Service. The following link provides information about ACM published articles that are monitored by CHORUS. To use the search service, please click here.
The dashboard service enables funders, institutions, researchers, publishers, and the public to keep track of public-access compliance by our publisher members. Learn more about our Dashboard Service. For more information about how Institutions can take advantage of the CHORUS Service, please see here. To use the dashboard service, please click here.
CHORUS Participating Funding Agencies
The following is a list of funders currently working with CHORUS:
- National Science Foundation (NSF)
- Department of Defense (DOD)
- Department of Energy (DOE)
- Department of the Interior (DOI) - USGS
- Japan Science & Technology Agency (JST)
- Office of the Department of National Intelligence (ODNI) - IARPA
- Smithsonian Institution (SI)
- US Department of Agriculture (USDA)
- National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)
- Australian Research Council (ARC)
For more information about CHORUS and ACM's role with CHORUS, please contact ACM.
ACM Authorizer "Open Access" Service
ACM Author-Izer is a unique service that enables ACM authors to generate and post links on their homepage and in their employer's Institutional Repository for visitors of those sites to download the definitive "Version of Record" of their articles from the ACM Digital Library at no charge to the author and without any pay-wall constraints for the reader.
Downloads from these sites are captured in official ACM statistics, improving the accuracy of usage and impact measurements. In addition to providing an unrestricted path to Open Access versions of an author's work, the ACM Author-Izer Service's goal is to address the very real problem of "article versioning", which causes significant confusion to the reader, by minimizing the number of "versions" of a work that are accessible from both the ACM Digital Library and third party sites, such as the author's Homepage or Institutional Repository.
ACM Author-Izer also extends ACM's reputation as an innovative "Green Open Access" Publisher, making ACM one of the first publishers of scholarly works to offer this model to its authors.
More information about the ACM Author-Izer Service can be found at: https://www.acm.org/publications/authors/acm-author-izer-service
ACM OpenTOC Service
By leveraging the ACM Author-Izer technology previously developed by ACM, in 2014 ACM developed a new full-text Open Access linking service for use by ACM's Special Interest Group (SIG) communities called the OpenTOC service.
This service enables SIGs to create ACM Author-Ized versions of Tables of Contents for upcoming ACM SIG sponsored conference proceedings and ACM Newsletters. Once activated, these OpenTOCs enable free full-text downloads from the ACM Digital Library, when links are clicked on directly from the ACM SIG or Conference websites.
Effective July 2019, the ACM Publications Board approved a pilot that enables OpenTOCs to be created for ACM SIG Newsletters and made available via ACM SIG Sites. As a pilot there is no guarantee that such OpenTOCs for ACM SIG Newsletters will be persistent over the long term. Based on a variety of factors, at the discretion of the ACM SIG or ACM Publications Board, this pilot could ultimately be discontinued.
The sponsoring SIGs may choose to activate an OpenTOC for the upcoming volume year (with the OpenTOC remaining active for 12 months) or a permanent OpenTOC that remains permanently active on the chosen site(s) to build up a local series archive for either an ACM Conference or related ACM SIG Newsletter. For co-sponsored conferences, all co-sponsors must agree to the posting and each co-sponsor may choose its site(s).
For more information about how the OpenTOC Service works or to learn more about utilizing the service, please go to: https://www.acm.org/publications/policies/permanent-access. If you are an authorized representative of an ACM SIG and would like to participate in this pilot, please contact our Publications Director.
ACM OpenSurround Service
In an effort to provide increased access to ACM Conference Proceedings publications for participants of ACM conferences and the broader computing community at a time when a conference's articles are most in demand, in 2014 ACM launched the ACM OpenSurround Service. This service enables any and all ACM Special Interest Groups (SIGs) to make the entire full-text contents of their SIG-sponsored conference proceedings openly accessible in the ACM Digital Library for up to two weeks prior to and/or subsequent to the event, provided that:
- All sponsoring entities approve, and
- Notice of the intended publication date is given in the Call for Papers
The official publication date will be the date the proceedings are made publicly accessible. For more information about the ACM OpenSurround Service, please go to: https://www.acm.org/publications/policies/free-access
Hybrid Open Access Publication
Since April 2013, ACM has offered authors of accepted full-length peer reviewed articles in all ACM Publications the option to make their articles Gold Open Access as from the initial date of publication in the ACM Digital Library by agreeing to pay ACM's Open Access Article Processing Charge (APC).
Since that time, thousands of ACM authors have selected this option and made their articles openly accessible to the world via the ACM Digital Library, and the number of authors selecting this option each year since the program's inception has continued to grow.
With that said, the cornerstone of the Hybrid Open Access option for ACM authors is the right to choose whether to make one's work Open Access in the ACM Digital Library in a particular ACM Publication. This choice is made by the author(s) alone, is made on an "article by article" basis, and may be based on a variety of factors, including Funder Open Access Mandates, personal views on the need to support the Open Access Movement, or any number of other reasons.
For authors not subject to a Funder Mandate to publish their work Open Access, unable to procure the funds to make their work Open Access in the ACM Digital Library, or for those authors satisfied with the subscription-based model of scholarly publication, there is no requirement to select this option. For all ACM Hybrid Open Access titles, there continues to be a mix of OA published articles and subscription-based published articles.
"Anti Double-Dipping" of Article Processing Charges
One of the major criticisms of the Hybrid Open Access model by the scientific and library communities is the potential for Publishers and Societies to collect Article Processing Charges from authors without reducing subscription fees to institutional customers (libraries) to access Hybrid journals in an effort to increase revenues and profitability, a practice most commonly referred to as Double Dipping.
When ACM's Publications Board took the decision to launch its Hybrid Open Access model in 2013, it did so with a commitment to the scientific and library communities to eliminate the possibility of double dipping with respect to ACM's Hybrid Open Access program.
Since 2013, ACM has been collecting all APC-related income from authors selecting the Hybrid Open Access option in ACM Publications and maintaining this income in what it has been calling a Hybrid Open Access Fund, with the long-term commitment that these fees will be used in one or more of the following ways:
- Returned to academic ACM Digital Library subscribers as credits against their next year's ACM DL access license fees.
- Used to underwrite the cost of APC embargo periods for newly launched Gold Open Access journals or ACM journals migrating from subscription-based to a Gold Open Access model.
- Used to underwrite Financial Waivers for ACM authors financially unable to pay Article Processing Charges (APCs) for ACM Gold Open Access journals.
Since launching this program, ACM has returned over $1.0M in APC income to the global academic library community from over 100 countries around the world and is starting to utilize part of this Fund to underwrite the launching of new Gold Open Access journals and existing ACM journals that are transitioning to a pure Gold OA model.
As ACM prepares to "flip" to 100% Open Access Publication starting in 2024 with the ICPS program and completing at the end of 2025, ACM will be sunsetting the Hybrid Open Access Fund at the end of 2024, which was always intended as a temporary or interim solution to ensure that ACM would not be charging authors APCs for the same published articles that institutions would be paying subscriptions to access in the ACM Digital Library (effectively "double dipping").
In practical terms, this means that the 2024 Digital Library and ACM Open institutional license renewal process will be the last time ACM will include the APC Income credits on renewal invoices sent to institutional DL subscribers and ACM Open participants.
Gold Open Access Publication
Unlike Hybrid Open Access journals, Gold Open Access journals are completely open via the ACM Digital Library with all articles requiring either a paid Article Processing Charge or a Financial Waiver, issued by ACM and based on certain criteria defined by ACM.
While ACM's Hybrid Open Access program was an important first step to providing a large-scale option for all ACM authors to make their ACM published works available on a Gold Open Access basis, for many in the scholarly community Hybrid Open Access is viewed as a partial solution, since it still involves the maintenance and perpetuation of the longstanding subscription model and the well publicized Library Serials Crisis, originally perpetuated by rising journal prices and static or declining Library Serials Budgets in the 1980s and 1990s, but still existing today. Others believe the subscription model is not inherently problematic, even though some of the largest and most profitable commercial publishers have taken advantage of their strong market positions by maintaining large portfolios of "Must Have" titles for the scientific community.
But whatever one believes is the right approach for the future, over the last decade or more there has been an enormous change in the scholarly publishing landscape with new publishers entering the market at a rapid pace with new Gold Open Access business models, large commercial publishers, particularly those in Europe, have embraced the Gold OA model by launching literally hundreds of new titles and acquiring existing pure Gold Open Access publishers and publications, and most of the world's leading non-profit publishers and societies have launched their own pure Gold Open Access journals into the marketplace in nearly every area of research and scholarly publication that exists.
In the early years, this "land grab" was dominated by many so called "predatory" publishers, characterized by relatively low quality publications and unethical business practices, but as time has gone by and many of the established and reputable journals publishers have entered the market and invested heavily in building Gold Open Access publication programs, the landscape of Gold Open Access has essentially evened out with a mixture of high quality, mediocre quality, and low quality publications, similar to what has long existed in the subscription-based journals market.
At the same time, Funders of research, including many of the largest governments around the world, including the US, UK, Germany, France, Netherlands, Japan, and other national governments around the world have become more active in terms of issuing government mandates for publishing funded research results in Openly Accessing publications and repositories.
Indeed, a number of the largest funders of scientific research around the world express a preference for publishing in Gold Open Access over Hybrid Open Access venues. Still other agencies and funders express no preference, but allow for grant recipients to utilize research funding to underwrite the cost of "reasonable" Open Access Article Processing Charges (APCs) to ensure that their funded works are made Openly Accessible to the world.
In addition to governments, many of the largest and most influential research institutions and universities around the world have announced similar "mandates" for the open access publication of research outputs, including peer reviewed articles and the underlying research artifacts, such as the software, data, and code relating to those published works.
As a result of the above mentioned changes and other changes ACM has seen occurring in the scholarly publishing landscape, and as the result of feedback ACM regularly receives from the scientific community via its thousands of authors, editorial board members, editors-in-chief, and volunteers around the world, in 2017 ACM launched the first of a number of new pure Gold Open Access journals, as well as laid the groundwork for transitioning a small number of existing ACM journals over to a pure Gold Open Access publication model as an initial experiment to gauge interest from the scientific community.
ACM will continue to experiment with APC-based Gold Open Access and explore other sustainable funding models for scholarly publication. Above all else, ACM's focus will remain on high quality publication and sustainability of its publication program and the historical record of its publications via the ACM Digital Library.
The following is a current list of ACM's pure Gold Open Access Journals:
- ACM Transactions on Architecture and Code Optimization (TACO)
- ACM Transactions on Human-Robot Interaction (THRI)
- ACM Transactions on Programming Languages and Systems (TOPLAS)
- ACM Transactions on Probabilistic Machine Learning (TOPML)
- ACM/IMS Journal on Data Science (JDS)
- Collective Intelligence (COLA)
- Digital Government: Research & Practice (DGOV)
- Digital Threats: Research & Practice (DTRAP)
- Formal Aspects of Computing (FAC)
- Proceedings of the ACM on Programming Languages (PACM PL)
Open Access Pricing
The pricing below is valid for all hybrid and gold open access publications:
|Authors||List Price||ACM / SIG Member Price|
|ACM Proceedings Article||$1000||$700|
|ICPS Proceedings Article||$1000||$700 ACM Member Only|
|Proceedings of the ACM Article||$1000||$700|
Open Access APC Waivers and Discounts
ACM offers Article Processing Charge (APC) waivers and discounts for corresponding authors in several specific categories, as follows:
- Authors based in low income countries, as identified in the World Bank List of Economies: 100% waiver
- Authors based in lower middle income countries, as identified in the World Bank List of Economies: 50% discount off applicable APCs
- Authors from countries covered by ACM’s agreements with EIFL and Research4Life: 100% waiver
Authors not covered by these waivers and discounts may apply for a discretionary waiver from ACM, based on financial need. The criteria used to evaluate such applications include:
- The corresponding author’s institutional affiliation
- The author’s departmental affiliation
- The author’s available research funding, its source, and whether it is applicable to APCs
- The funder's OA publication policies
- Other financial considerations
To request a discretionary Open Access APC waiver, please write to [email protected].
APC waivers and discounts are offered for ACM Gold Open Access journals only. Waivers and discounts are not available for ACM's Hybrid Open Access publications.
This policy statement is consistent with the Research4Life Best Practices for APC Waivers.
Author Rights Management for Open Access Publications
Authors of peer reviewed and accepted articles who select to publish their work utilizing the Hybrid Open Access option for all ACM Hybrid Open Access titles or authors publishing in any of ACM's new pure Gold Open Access titles are able to choose any "level" of rights ownership and management they prefer, including the following:
- Granting a non-exclusive license for ACM to publish their work in the ACM Digital Library, while retaining all rights to their work, including copyright, and which allows for perpetual open access and the option to have their published work governed by a Creative Commons License upon publication.
- Retaining copyright and granting an exclusive license for ACM to publish their work in the ACM Digital Library
Regardless of which option authors publishing their work on an Open Access basis with ACM select, all ACM authors retain all other proprietary rights not granted to ACM, including patent, trademark, or moral rights, major revision rights, self-archiving or posting rights, auxiliary material usage rights, and ownership rights and control of third-party permissions of artistic images and the use of software published by ACM in connection with the author's published work.
For more information about Author Rights, please see ACM's official Copyright Policy at: https://www.acm.org/publications/policies/copyright-policy
ACM has opened the articles published during the first 50 years of its publishing program, from 1951 through the end of 2000, These articles are now open and freely available to view and download via the ACM Digital Library. ACM’s first 50 years backfile contains more than 117,500 articles on a wide range of computing topics. In addition to articles published between 1951 and 2000, ACM has also opened related and supplemental materials including data sets, software, slides, audio recordings, and videos.